Sometimes called the ‘European Honey Bee’, this is the most familiar of all our bees. It is the male drones that we usually see buzzing around the flower borders in summer. They vary from bright honey coloured to grey or dark brown, for Apis mellifera (translates as ‘honey carrying bee’) covers several subspecies or tribes. Sizes queen 16mm, drone 16mm, worker 12mm.
Widely domesticated bee and associated with artificial hives manufacturing honey, wax, and other products. They communicate with the language of dance. Essential pollinator of commercial crops and providers of honey and wax.
Apart form the man-made hives, they generally nest in the hollows of trees, which are constructed from wax. Each nest may contain thousands upon thousands of bees. Feed on nectar and pollen.
Seen early spring until late into the autumn. Found in a wide range of habitats, especially gardens. Nests usually found in woodland. Widespread and abundant. Native to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Populations have suffered depletion where non-native bees have been introduced. A recent threat here in Britain is the mite Varroa jacobsoni which has caused devastation to colonies after its introduction in 1992.
July 204 and 15, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014 and 2015. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.